Steve Miles and Fernando Machado, the marketing executives behind one of the most successful viral videos of the past year—and ever, for that matter—snapped up the honor of Adweek’s Grand Brand Genius for 2013 this evening.
The award serves as the crowning accolade at Adweek’s Brand Genius awards dinner, an annual fete that recognizes 10 of the most innovative and successful branding activations and the corporate executives who spearheaded them. A panel of editorial judges selected the 10 Brand Genius honorees, each of whom received a profile in the Sept. 23 issue of Adweek and recognition at tonight’s gala. By secret ballot, the Grand Brand Genius is chosen from among the Brand Genius winners, and is announced live at the event. This evening’s festivities took place at Capitale in New York, which broke out the red carpets and velvet ropes for a crowd of hundreds.
Adweek’s Brand Genius honor, originally known as the Marketer of the Year Award, is now in its 24th consecutive year.
Widely favored to win, Miles and Machado were the corporate forces behind the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign, an elegantly simple video that used an FBI-trained forensic artist to illustrate the startling difference between how women describe their own faces, and how others see them. Based on the reality that few women consider themselves beautiful, the video (produced with a creative assist from Ogilvy & Mather Brazil) offered undisputable proof that women are not only their own worst critics, but far more attractive than they realize.
Just 10 days after its release on April 14, “Real Beauty Sketches” had already garnered 660,000 shares on Facebook, and went on to become the most successful piece of viral marketing ever. To date, the three-minute film has been seen by an estimated 60 million Americans on YouTube; its global views are estimated at 170 million.
“We knew that the idea was compelling,” said Dove Skin vp Machado of the sobering yet inspirational piece of creative, “but until we saw it come to life, we had no idea how powerful it would be.” Added Miles, who serves as global svp of Dove, “the film uncovered a powerful human truth.”
Like all of this year’s winners, Miles and Machado will return to their corporate headquarters with a Brand Genius trophy, a custom piece modeled around Thomas Edison’s carbon-filament lightbulb, the enduring symbol of entrepreneurial innovation.